HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Newtown Anner Stud and Joseph Bulger’s Falling Sky is set for a return to action at Gulfstream Park in Saturday’s $75,000 Groomstick Stakes, seeking to rebound from an unsuccessful venture to Saratoga.
The multiple graded-stakes winning son of Lion Heart, who had earned the trip to Saratoga with a triumph in the Trinniberg Stakes at Gulfstream Aug. 1, chased odds-on favorite and eventual winner Private Zone along the backstretch before tiring to seventh in the Forego (G1) Aug. 29.
“I thought he would show more speed,” trainer Marty Wolfson said. “He was laying third, but Private Zone is in a different zone.”
Falling Sky has breezed twice upon his return to Gulfstream, where he offered a bullet half-mile workout in 47.01 seconds Sept. 14.
“He came back very good from the Forego. He’s doing good,” said Wolfson, who also entered Lynx, who finished second behind East Hall in the two-turn Sensitive Prince Stakes at Gulfstream Sept. 12.
Tyler Gaffalione has been named to ride Falling Sky for the first time in the seven-furlong Groomstick, while Jonathan Gonzales has been given the call to ride Lynx.
Falling Sky ran in the 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) after winning the Sam Davis (G3), finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and coming in fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1). After finishing off the board at Churchill Downs, the Pennsylvania-bred has primarily been running in one-turn races. He won the seven-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) last year before joining Wolfson’s stable for his 2015 campaign. He finished eighth in the Smile (G2) July 5 after breaking through the gate prior to the start, but he returned with a triumph in the seven-furlong Trinniberg.
Julian De Mora’s Ledokol and Jacks or Better Farm’s Grande Shores, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Trinniberg, will be in the nine-horse field entered for the Groomstick.
Marcial Navarro-trained Ledokol, who closed late to miss catching Falling Sky by a head in the Trinniberg, subsequently faded late to finish fourth in the Sensitive Prince and may benefit from the turn-back to seven furlongs Saturday. Eddie Castro has the mount aboard the gelded son of Purge.
Stanley Gold-trained Grande Shores made a four-wide bid into the stretch in the Trinniberg before making a steady run to finish 1 ¾-lengths behind Falling Sky under Eddie Castro.
“I can be an armchair quarterback and Eddie has to make a split-second decision, but he went to the outside when he shouldn’t have. He should have waited. There was plenty of space to go through,” Gold said. “He [Grande Shores] doesn’t do his best race when he circles the field.”
The ultra-consistent Grande Shores has finished first or second in 29 of 46 career starts.
Edgard Zayas, Grande Shores’ regular rider before being sidelined with an injury, returns aboard the 7-year-old son of Black Mambo in the Groomstick.
Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid, who captured the Iselin (G3) at Monmouth last time out, has been installed as the 9-5 favorite over second-rated Falling Sky (5-2).
Trained by Marcus Vitali, the multiple graded-stakes winner won the Fred Hooper (G3) during Gulfstream’s 2014-2015 Championship Meet. Matthew Rispoli has been named to ride the 5-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro.
Red Castle Farms’ Rough Passage captured a starter allowance race in his first start at Gulfstream Park Aug. 21. The 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic, who had previously raced in Southern California, had been shipped to South Florida with trainer Kristin Mulhall’s new Gulfstream division. Jesus Rios has the mount.
Bluegrass Luck, Dream Saturday and Casiguapo round out the field.
Stablemates to Debut for Wolfson in $75,000 Panama City Stakes
Trainer Marty Wolfson has achieved well-documented success in developing filly-and-mare additions to his stable into stakes winners.
The veteran South Florida trainer can bolster his reputation in Saturday’s co-featured $75,000 Panama City. Wolfson is slated to saddle Miller Racing’s newly purchased In My Time and Ben Walden Jr.’s Prayed For for the mile turf stakes for fillies and mares.
In My Time is set to make her Gulfstream debut in the Panama City after finishing no worse than second in her last eight starts at Midwest tracks. Luca Panici has been named to ride the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy, who is rated third in the morning line at 9-2.
“She’s pretty nice. She’s one who’s always really close,” Wolfson said. “I like her a lot.”
Prayed For, a winner of three of six starts on turf, debuted for Wolfson Sept. 5 in the off-the-turf Wasted Tears, in which she showed speed before faltering.
“That was a terrible race,” Wolfson said. “I regret running her, but she had trained really well on dirt. Ben Walden told me that she’ll do that.”
Jonathan Gonzalez has been named to ride the 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer.
Wolfson also entered Grade 1 stakes-placed Kiss to Remember as a main-track-only starter, but the Ballerina (G1) runner-up is scheduled to compete in the $75,000 Added Elegance Stakes at Gulfstream Sunday.
Mineola Farm II and David Houchin’s Latique, who has been stakes-placed in her last three starts for trainer Michael Trombetta, has been installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite. Elm Racing’s Urtheoneeyelove, a Mountaineer shipper who captured an overnight handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream July 4, has been rated second at 4-1 for her return for trainer Eric Reed.
Naval Command, Jealous Cat, Claiming Victory, Maid on a Mission and Lemon Point were also entered for the Panama City.